Writing a High School homeschool transcript can seem intimidating, but we have made it easy and free with Google Sheets. Our transcript template lets you present your homeschool student’s accomplishments clearly and professionally.
Why are High School Transcripts Important for Homeschoolers?
Homeschool parents often think of transcripts as something for college-bound students, but every homeschool graduate needs a high school transcript. High school transcripts provide proof that a student’s high school diploma is valid, and may be required by an employer or for retraining decades after graduation. If your student needs a high school transcript after you have downsized to a retirement home (purging your homeschool records) or are unavailable to generate a transcript due to illness or death, they will be grateful to you for the effort you put in now. Set aside an afternoon to create the transcript and then keep a hard copy with your important papers.
How to use our Transcript Template
Open our template file in google docs and then click on “make a copy” in the File menu. After that, follow the instructions on the template.
Choosing a Transcript Format
Transcripts can be organized chronologically or by subject. Chronological transcripts organize coursework by when the student took them, so courses from the first semester of 9th grade are listed together, etc… Subject-based transcripts group courses by subject and may not show when the courses were taken at all. We recommend chronological transcripts for three reasons. First, chronological transcripts are much more common. Second, they present a clearer picture of the student’s academic life by showing how many challenging courses the student was able to juggle at once. Third, some colleges have their own online transcript forms which they require applicants to use, and these are generally chronological, so it will save time to have the information ready in that format.
Preparing to write a Transcript
The first step in assembling a high school homeschool transcript is gathering your records about the courses your student has taken during their high school years. These could be:
- Classes they completed at home with formal curricula,
- Classes or programs of study designed by you and/or your student
- Online Classes
- Classes taken at a local Homeschool Coop or with a tutor
- Classes taken at your local High School
- Dual Enrollment Classes taken at a Community College or University
Include all classes for which you are awarding high school credit, even if they were completed before you began homeschooling. Use an asterisk or superscript to indicate where the classes were taken.
Set your Credit and Grading Policies
As the head of your homeschool, you get to define the policies that impact your high schooler’s grades and GPA. This means deciding how you will assign credits, what your grading scale will be, and whether you will weight any grades.
Assigning credits on your high school homeschool transcript
There are many ways to define a high school “credit”, but the most common is the Carnegie Unit. A Carnegie unit assigns one credit for 120 hours of class time on the secondary level, essentially a one-year high school course. A one semester high school class would be 1/2 credit. If your student has taken college classes, typically a 3-4 credit class is awarded one high school credit even if it was completed in a single semester or trimester, acknowledging that these courses are typically more work than high school classes.
Choosing a grade scale and weighting policy
Next, choose your grading scale. You may choose to use the same scale as your local public school, but you are free to use another model. Typically families either use letter grades (A, B, C, D, F), a four-point scale, or percentages. All are equally valid. While many homeschool parents are reluctant to assign grades as a part of the regular homeschool day, we recommend that you include grades on your high school homeschool transcript. If your student needs to enter their transcript information into an automated system at some point, it will be easier for them if the transcript fits the traditional structure, and this includes grades.
Finally, decide on the grade-weighting policy for your homeschool. Grade-weighting is the process of increasing grades from more challenging courses when calculating the student’s GPA. Grade-weighting rewards students who take challenging courses, and removes some of the risk to their grade point average (GPA). For example, many high schools that use a four-point system will weight dual-enrollment courses by 25%. The transcript shows the student’s actual grade, but to calculate GPA, the grade is multiplied by 1.25 (don’t let the math scare you– our template handles it automatically.) Schools often weight honors courses by 10%. We recommend copying the policies of area high schools, especially if your student is applying to a local college.
Set your Grading Period
Finally, decide on your grading period. This sets how you organize your school year. If all of your students’ classes take a full school year, then your grading period may be one school year, however, if some classes lasted a half year, your grading period might be semesters, etc… When assembling a transcript that includes classes at the local high school or college, we recommend copying their grading period.
Course names for High School Homeschool Transcripts
Many homeschool parents struggle with assigning course names. We recommend that you choose short names that describe the course in traditional academic language. For first-year French, use “French 1”, for example. As homeschoolers, our courses aren’t always traditional- in this case, course catalogs from colleges can help you find the right academic language to describe the topics you covered (e.g. “Animal Science: Rabbits” to describe a course of study that included researching, and raising rabbits). If you are listing courses taken outside your home, use the official course title.
Don’t overthink it!
There isn’t one right way to make a transcript, and so if you are having trouble deciding between two options, just pick one and move on. The goal of a high school homeschool is to lay out your student’s academic coursework clearly. As long as your transcript is clear and accurate you can feel confident about your work.